Becoming Unoffendable

"Don't carry a grudge; while you're carrying a grudge,
the other person is out dancing."

- Buddy Hackett

It seems that many people today are hyper-sensitive. They take offense easily and quickly demand an apology.

Recently I was listening to a podcast by Rick Warren. He said, "Decide to be unoffendable." I thought that was a great idea. I tried it, and by golly, it worked!
 
The greatest of all freedoms we have as humans is the freedom to choose our attitude. Being offended takes up unnecessary emotion and space in our lives. It hurts us more than the other person.
 
Here are three simple ways to become unoffendable.
 
1. Don't take things personally.

I recently went into a company to provide an all-day workshop. Within 5 minutes of arrival, an employee asked: "Are you our trainer today?" I told him I was. He said, "Well, make it quick. I don't have time for this nonsense."

Why should that offend me? He didn't even know me. Clearly, there is something going on with him. All I can do is deliver the best training that I can.
 

2. Focus on what you can control.

When I see someone is driving like a maniac, I immediately think"Justice! He needs to be pulled over!" But why let that person throw me off my game? There is very little I can do about it as he speeds ahead.

Decide to resign yourself from being the general manager of the universe and focus on improving yourself rather than disapproving of others.
 

3. Decide to be the kind of person you want to be, regardless of others.

Be consistently kind and respectful. Why? Because the other person deserves it? Not necessarily, but because you are a kind and respectful person.
 


I am not suggesting that we should be passive. We should step into difficult situations when appropriate. I am simply saying that we shouldn't carry around bitterness and resentment. It makes life harder. 

No one can hurt you without your permission. Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

The Appeal of Humble Confidence

"Never believe you’re better than anybody else,
but remember that you’re just as good as anyone."

- John Wooden

Successful people are a combination of warmth and strength.

Great leaders are also a combination of warmth and strength. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, declares that research reveals the most effective leaders have a rare combination of professional willand personal humility.

We have a natural aversion to arrogant people. Those who think they are superior to others.

We are generally not inspired or positively influenced by passive or timid people.

But we are drawn to those who carry themselves with humble confidence.

Let's briefly take a look at the behaviors of those with humble confidence.
 

HUMBLE

  • Humble people don't think less of themselves, they think of themselves less.

  • Humble people have a desire to grow and improve.

  • Humble people are open to feedback.

  • Humble people talk less and listen more.

  • Humble people ask for advice.

  • Humble people focus on others, not themselves.

  • Humble people treat everyone with respect.

  • Humble people know that everyone has something to teach them.

CONFIDENCE

  • Confident people are respectful but not intimidated.

  • Confident people speak clearly and with conviction.

  • Confident people aren't worried about what everyone thinks of them.

  • Confident people greet other people with a warm handshake, smile and eye contact.

  • Confident people carry themselves with poise.

  • Confident people live out their values.

  • Confident people know they are never out of their league.

  • Confident people energize and inspire others.


A superiority or inferiority complex serves no one well.
Where are you on the humble confidence scale?
 

"When you are big, act small.
When you are small, act big."

-Leslie Koch

Practicing Positive Discontent

"Enjoy all you have while you pursue all you want."
- Jim Rohn

I don't know about you but I am not an 'either/or' type of person. I'm a 'both/and' person.

I want to provide tremendous value to my clients and earn a good living.
I want to workout regularly to be fit and enjoy good food.
I want to travel, have some nice things and be very generous in giving to others.

A few years ago I came up the term 'positive discontent.'

Here's what I mean; it's important and healthy to be grateful for all our blessings while still working to improve our lot in life.

delchart.jpg

Take care to avoid the two extremes.

COMPLACENT

A complacent person is far too easily pleased. They have no desire or see no need for personal growth. They are self-satisfied. They resist the uncomfortable. They don't challenge themselves. They coast. 
 

MALCONTENT

A malcontent is someone who is constantly disgruntled or dissatisfied. Nothing is ever enough. It's always pushed, push, push for more. A malcontent overlooks what's right. A malcontent misses experiencing joy in life for always wanting something else.


So how can you practice Positive Discontent? I am glad you asked.

1. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Regularly take time to reflect on all the good things you have in life.


2. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. 
When we compare ourselves to others, we either come away with a superiority or inferiority complex. Neither are healthy.

The only comparison you should make is who you are today vs. who you could be. Then pursue closing that gap.


3. LOOK AT YOURSELF AS A WORK IN PROGRESS, NOT THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Seek to constantly improve. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Make excellence a personal standard.


The word thrive literally means to grow or develop vigorously. It's not perfection, it's direction.

So no more coasting. The only direction you can coast is downhill.
 

The Power of Focus: How to Get Better Results in Less Time

"The successful person is the average person, with laser-like focus."
- Bruce Lee

Have you ever noticed that some people get more results by working out for 45 minutes than others do by working out for 90 minutes?

Many people who go to the gym barely do enough to raise their heart rate. Others lift weights so inefficiently it doesn't isolate the intended muscle. Still, others are on their phones for long stretches in between sets.

We live in a world of dabbling, diffusion, and distraction.

If you are interested in achieving excellent results, the simple answer is to use the power of focus. Light diffused is not very powerful. Light focused becomes a laser that can cut through steel.

I encourage 3 strategies: Intention, Intensity and Interval.

1. Intention.

Be clear on what you want to achieve, whether in the next 30 minutes, 30 days or 30 months. Being crystal clear on your intended results is similar to putting the destination in your GPS.

2. Intensity

Once you are clear on the results you want to achieve, it is important to be single-minded as you work toward that goal. Extraordinary results come from extraordinary effort. Eliminate distractions and anything that steers you in the wrong direction. This doesn't mean that you work on your goals 100% of the time, but when you are working on your goals, you give 100% focus.

3. Interval

Think of your periods of focus as intense sprints, not a marathon. Life is to be enjoyed. We burn-out and become less effective when we are always in push, push, push mode. 

Here is the bottom line, if you chase two rabbits, you catch neither. When you have important work to do, no more multi-tasking. Do one thing at a time.

"In the absence of disciplined focus, we are strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivIa."

- Patricia Schell

For more on this important topic, download my short ebook, Power Focus here.

Excellence Is The Next 5 Minutes

It's overwhelming to me to think of being excellent for the rest of my life. And there is nothing I can do now in terms of being excellent yesterday or tomorrow.

But I love the concept that author Tom Peters speaks of, 'excellence is the next 5 minutes.'

That I think I can do. And you can too!

  • Excellence is ... making your bed.

  • Excellence is ... turning off the lights as you leave the hotel room.

  • Excellence is ... not putting plastic bags in the recycling bin.

  • Excellence is ... putting the dishes in the dishwasher.

  • Excellence is ... sending a thank you note.

  • Excellence is ... reading your email out loud before sending it.

  • Excellence is ... thinking before you speak.

  • Excellence is ... giving the other person your focused attention.

  • Excellence is ... attending meetings prepared and engaged.

  • Excellence is ... showing up early.

  • Excellence is ... following up and following through.

  • Excellence is ... leaving an 'over and above' tip for 'over and above' service.

  • Excellence is ... over-preparing for the presentation.

  • Excellence is ... helping a co-worker.

  • Excellence is ... delighting the customer.

  • Excellence is ... over-delivering.

In a world full of carpenters, be a craftsman.

3 Ways to Leave Yourself Margin

"Life is better with breathing room."
- Andy Stanley

We don't like cramped spaces.

We don't like sitting in the middle seat on the airplane. We don't like narrow parking spaces where we can barely open the car door. And we don't like blog posts that leave no white space to make it easy on the eyes. We all like 'margin.'

In the same way, you need to create margin in your life. Margin is space that affords you to be less stressed, more in control and allows you to do things with excellence.

Lack of margin, living close to the edge, means if one thing doesn't go as planned, everything goes haywire.

For example, if you wait until April 15 to do your taxes, what if your computer crashes or a family emergency comes up?

Here's the deal, when you don't give yourself margin, you become stressed and selfish.

How many times have you walked into a room to listen to a presentation and the speaker is frazzled because they are fiddling with technology at the last minute? They are consumed with getting the PowerPoint to work and are unable to focus on greeting people as they walk in.

Your life will become easier if you get in the habit of leaving yourself margin.

Here are 3 simple ways to leave yourself margin.

1. Create Self-Imposed Deadlines
Plan to have your taxes done by April 1st. If you are a leader, deliver the performance review two weeks before it is due. (You have to do these things anyway.) Constantly running behind or doing things at the last minute is exasperating.

2. Don't Overbook Yourself
You are setting yourself up for failure if you try and cram too much into a day. The quality of your work and the quality of your relationships suffer.

3. Plan to Arrive 15 Minutes Early for EVERYTHING
Driving to appointments or meetings when you are running late is no fun. You can't enjoy the drive, there is little time to think and you become easily annoyed at other drivers. It's so much better arriving cool, calm and confident.

Life can be challenging, why make it more difficult?

Life is an adventure, leave yourself margin and enjoy the ride!

Are You In The Stands Or On The Field?

"Some people make things happen.
Some people watch things happen."

Do you realize that when you are watching TV, very often you are observing people making a lot of money doing something they love? Let's not spend a lot of time passively watching actors, athletes, musicians, and political pundits.

Let's spend more time doing what we love, positively impacting others and providing well for ourselves, our families and others.

Don't get me wrong, as a lifelong, very devoted Chicago Cub fan, I enjoy following them throughout the season. And I attend my share of concerts. But these activities should be small, enjoyable slices of life, not what we live for.

Life is not meant to be a spectator sport.

Here are 4 ways you can get out of the stands and onto the playing field.

1. Hone Your Skills.
Take the natural talent you have, then refine and develop it to the point of excellence. This then becomes a strength.

2. Serve Somebody
The whole point of having a strength is to use it in service for someone else. Make sure you are regularly making a positive difference in the lives of others.

3. Create Something
Write a book, craft a quilt, design a house, start a side business, paint a picture, build a website, restore a car, nurture character in your children, learn to play a musical instrument, grow a garden, develop a friendship.

4. Get Out
Take a walk in nature, ride a bike, go to a museum, have coffee with a friend, visit another city for a weekend, take a personal retreat.

All of the above are positive, pro-active actions. We aren't made to watch life pass us by. The relaxer chair is there for us to enjoy just long enough to get replenished and go back in the game,  We are born to roll up our sleeves and make things happen.  We are born to be in the game, to get scrapes and bruises. To get dirt on our uniform. To experience failure and victory.

There is joy in the battle.

We have a very short time on Earth. Let's make the most of it.

Watch Your Words: What You Say is an Inside Job

"Every time you open your mouth,
your mind walks out and parades up and down for all to see."

- Edwin Stuart
 

Your words are powerful. Not only do your words have an effect on others, but your words also reveal who you truly are.


Your words can hurt, tear down, and discourage.

  • When you criticize others, you reveal insecurity.

  • When you grumble and complain, you reveal ingratitude.

  • When you blame others, you reveal a lack of responsibility.

  • When you dominate a conversation, you reveal self-centeredness.


Your words can heal, build up and encourage.

  • When you encourage others, you reveal a spirit of generosity.

  • When you compliment others, you reveal kindness.

  • When you apologize, you reveal inner strength.

  • When you give others credit, you reveal humility.


Jesus taught that the words we speak come from the heart. Work on your inside and you won’t have to worry about what comes out on the outside.

5 Ways To Be E.L.I.T.E.

“It is one of the strange ironies of life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest.”

- Brutus Hamilton

I love the word ELITE. Not in the sense of the Hollywood elite or elitism. But in the sense of being world-class, operating at the highest level. Being the very best.
 
I don’t recommend comparing yourself to other people, but I do recommend separating yourself from the pack.
 
Here are 5 ways to be E.L.I.T.E.
 

EXCELLENCE

Elite performers are focused in just a few areas. Elite performers are not well-rounded, they are sharp. They concentrate their fire on a few things. They work on maximizing their strengths, not bringing their weaknesses up to average. They develop and hone their God-given talent.

People are known for what they can do, not what they can’t do. I have never heard anyone say, “Michael Jordan is a lousy plumber.”
 
Elite performers are not dabblers. They are not easily distracted. They are not diffused. Their interests and efforts are not a mile wide and an inch thick. They practice selective ignorance and focus on the things that matter and things they can influence.

If you see an elite performer in any field, you know they sacrificed to get there. They gave up many other activities and interests so they could perform at a higher level.
  

"Find a tiny stream where your strengths can flow
and carve it into a Mississippi.”

Marcus Buckingham

LOVE

Being elite in relationships means practicing kindness, taking a sincere interest in others, practicing generosity towards others. It means giving others focused attention and treating them like a very important person. 

Being elite with people means being an affirmer and encourager. It means exercising grace and giving others the benefit of the doubt. 

Elite performers look for the best in others. They help others move closer towards their hopes and dreams. They celebrate the success of others.
 
Elite performers don’t gossip or criticize. They don’t seek revenge. They don’t get all twisted up by the inconsideration of others. They are not easily offended. They don't get upset if they are slighted. They don’t focus on the foibles or shortcomings of others. 
 

INTEGRITY

Being elite means asking more of yourself than others ask of you.It involves holding yourself to a higher standard. Integrity comes from operating from a set of personal values. Being solid on the inside.It’s strength of character.

It’s not getting too high or low emotionally. Being elite means being the same person in all circumstances and with all groups of people.
 
Being elite does not involve focusing on appearances rather than substance. It does not gauge self-belief on the praises, criticisms or opinions of others. The elite are not intimidated by others of a higher position or more wealth.
 

TOUGHNESS

Being elite involves grit, pursuing things with perseverance. The elite know that much of the game of life is won behind the scenes, in the daily grind. Being elite means resilience, bouncing back strong from adversity. Being elite means not giving in. Elite does what it takes.
 
Being elite means not blaming others or thinking of yourself as a victim. Being elite means not making excuses. Elite performers don’t follow the whim of faulty and fleeting feelings but practice personal discipline.
 

ENTHUSIASM

Being elite involves having a fire in the belly. Playing offense in life. It means bringing enormous amounts of positive energy to the task at hand. The elite are goal-oriented and pursue things with passion. They have a purpose and want to make a dent in the universe. They are vibrant and exude joy.
 
Elite performers are not bored. They don’t lack vision or purpose. They don’t just go through the motions.

"To be what we are and
to become what we are capable of becoming
is the only end in life.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson


Elite is the opposite of mediocre. It is the contrast to average. The elite have an aversion for the ordinary.

Normal is overrated.
 
Be willing to do what most others won’t do. Think and act different. Focus on the being the best person you can be.
 
Live on a higher level.

Do You Have the Generosity Gene?

"The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller."

- Proverbs 11:24

I recently met a cook, Jean, who works in a retirement community for nuns. During a recent training program, he said that one Sister likes her bacon extra, extra, extra crispy. "So you know what I do?"he said. "I make sure that every morning; she gets her bacon extra, extra, extra crispy."

This same cook also said that a co-worker in the dining room expressed an interest in becoming a cook. So Jean suggested that, at break times, he come back to the kitchen and Jean would teach him how to cook.

Jean has the Generosity Gene. Jean has Generosity of Spirit. Do you?

Take a quick assessment.

  • In conversations: Is it all about you? Or do you take a sincere interest in others? Do you ask about their world, their interests, their dreams, their goals?

  • At work: Do you constantly seek credit? Or do you focus on appreciating, recognizing, and giving credit to others? 

  • In everyday actions:When receiving good service at a restaurant, are you careful to not calculate the meal tax in the tip? Or do you round the tip up over 20%.

  • In sales:Do you forget about the customer once you received your commission? Or do you insure they are delighted with your product or service long after you have received your compensation?

  • In business:If you are a business owner or executive, do you look at your employees as a mere expense? Or does it make you happy to provide generous compensation so they can live well?

If it is all about you, you live in a very small world indeed.
If you have the generosity gene, you become influential: the world and possibilities open up. 

How did you do in the assessment above? Not so well? Maybe it's time to try on a new pair of genes.

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no person
can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson